When I was pregnant with my son, like most moms, I became obsessed with making sure I had everything ready for the new bundle of joy that would soon turn our lives upside down. We cleared out our spare bedroom, purchased baby furniture, strollers and onesies, and researched the safest car seat. Then, when I was about six months pregnant, I read about other critical must-haves expecting parents often overlook, including a will and life insurance.
That day, I told my husband we needed to have them both. He thought I was going a bit overboard with the nesting and baby prep, but I was determined and he obliged.
Three months after our son was born, my husband was diagnosed with an aggressive form of testicular cancer. Less than 18 months later, he was gone.
Three Things You Should Consider When Preparing For Baby
1. Life Insurance
When looking into purchasing life insurance–an experience we both found depressing and morbid–we never expected to use it, at least not anytime soon. We were sold on the fact that since we were purchasing it when we were both young and healthy, it would cost very little for both of our policies. This meant we barely saw a difference in our monthly finances, but also did not have to worry about it later as we aged.
After my husband had undergone failed treatments, when we were exploring experimental treatments and his prognosis was poor, we learned about clauses built in to our policies that allowed us to use some of the money on medical expenses in the case of a life threatening illness. This was incredibly helpful and gave me peace of mind, that even though the treatments did not work in the end, I know we did everything possible to try and beat the disease. You just can’t pay for that kind of peace of mind.
2. Wills and Trust Funds
When your family is going through a difficult time, the last thing you want to think about is dealing with the legal system. We had our wishes put in writing–for a relatively inexpensive fee due to the fact that we were looking for a basic will.
We also created a trust for our son when he was born. Don’t confuse this term with the rich “Trust Fund Kids;” trusts are needed for any minor child. If something were to happen to you and your spouse, this will dictate how and when the money is used, controlled and given to your child when they get older, among other technicalities. Be sure to ask your lawyer about this important piece when preparing your will.
3. A College Fund
While an official college fund cannot be started until the child is born, it is helpful to do your research on which college fund you plan to open. There are so many options–from prepaid state plans to 529 savings plans–that it can be overwhelming. Do your research early, and then finalize the details after the baby is born when registering them for your medical insurance and their Social Security cards. This way, it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of nighttime feedings and doctors appointments, but gets done before your baby starts hitting his or her milestones. The sooner, the better.
While these may not be the most exciting things to consider when preparing for a baby, they are important. I never would have imagined needing them so soon, but shudder to think about what could have happened if we had waited.
For more advice on how to prepare financially for having a baby, check out:
How to Financially Prepare for Maternity Leave – Part One
How to Financially Prepare for Maternity Leave – Part Two
Things to Consider Before You Have Kids
Everything You Need to Know About Money, Children and College